Typically, the NFL Player of the Week award is pretty simple. There are usually one or two contenders at each position in any given week. However, Week 6 was a bit different, as more than a half-dozen quarterbacks produced efforts worthy of contention. No offensive player went out of his way to produce a truly Herculean effort, but there were plenty of defenders deserving of the Week 6 crown. But alas, only one person can win each award.
NFL Player of the Week | Week 6
Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Aaron Rodgers, and even Carson Wentz deserved quarterback consideration. The list of offensive players was even longer this week. Although the list of defenders was shorter, it was still challenging to choose between guys like T.J. Watt, Trevon Diggs, Taylor Rapp, and Randy Gregory.
NFL Quarterback of the Week | Derek Carr
There has been some Jeckyl and Hyde from the Las Vegas Raiders, and more specifically, from Derek Carr. However, the last 8-10 days must have been extremely mentally draining for many of the team’s players.
It became apparent Monday that Jon Gruden — who resigned after more racist, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic comments surfaced in his emails — was not the man they may have believed him to be. And if he had somehow performed a complete change of heart since the last batch of offensive emails from 2018, he had become too much of a distraction for it to matter.
Carr had a good relationship with his coach, at least on the surface. So watching him and the Raiders go out and dominate a talented defense in Denver just six days after the Gruden fiasco was the equivalent of a chef’s kiss. It earned him NFL Player of the Week honors for the second time in 2021.
Carr went 18-of-27 for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns. Now, I won’t lie — when it comes to “quarterbacking,” I believe others had better days. But I love how Carr trusted in his playmakers to make plays with the ball in the air, and he spread his 25 targets around.
He was also first in QBR and second in EPA/play, which shouldn’t be surprising given the lack of plays credited to him and his massive statistical output. He efficiently threw up some nutty numbers on Sunday.
Hopefully, both Carr and the team can keep up a high level of play — the league is more fun when the Raiders are good.
NFL Co-Offensive Player of the Week | CeeDee Lamb
This past week, many in the DFW area were clamoring for CeeDee Lamb to receive some of the targets that had been going to tight end Dalton Schultz and others. Quite frankly, Lamb hadn’t been as heavily targeted in the offense recently because he’s been playing on the outside instead of in the slot. Opposing teams were running a ton of two-high coverages that allowed Prescott to attack the middle of the field.
In Week 6, the man-heavy New England Patriots met Lamb — and it didn’t go particularly well for them. Last season, Lamb had a 72.5% success rate against man coverage, which fell in the 79th percentile of receivers, according to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception.
Against New England, Lamb caught 9 passes for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. But no catch was bigger than his third-and-25 grab to get Dallas into field goal position to tie the game. For some reason, Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys took a timeout, leaving 20+ seconds on the clock instead of making the field goal attempt the final play. Then, Lamb went out and caught the game-winning touchdown, high-stepping into the end zone and waving goodbye to Jalen Mills.
NFL Co-Offensive Player of the Week | Derrick Henry
If Henry had played on Sunday, he’d have been the Offensive Player of the Week — but who wants to wait until late Monday night or even Tuesday morning to hand out awards? It’s not cheating to list both Henry and Lamb.
When you search “built different” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it’s just a picture of King Henry stiff-arming Josh Norman into the next dimension. Henry may be the only player in NFL history who seems to absorb contact and convert it into his own energy.
It’s like watching the Cell saga in Dragon Ball Z. The more you beat on the Androids, the stronger they become. It’s fitting because I’m not sure that Henry is human. At 240-plus pounds, he possesses the league’s highest ball-carrier speed of the season at 21.8 MPH.
On Monday Night Football, he carried the ball 20 times for 143 yards and 3 TDs, adding 2 catches for 13 yards. Sure, if you look at the process from a hyper-analytical 30,000 feet, you will see that Henry’s success rate wasn’t great. If you take out his 75-yard touchdown run, he averaged just 3.58 ypc on his other 19 attempts.
But sometimes, we just need to shut up and enjoy a fun thing as it’s happening. And what Henry does is FUN!
NFL Defensive Player of the Week | Maxx Crosby
The Maxx Crosby breakout season continued Sunday with an incredible performance against the Denver Broncos that included 3 sacks, 5 QB hits, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass defensed. Have yourself a day, young man!
Crosby is already one of the better stories in the NFL. Much like teammate Darren Waller, Crosby struggled with addiction. The former Eastern Michigan product says he’s always struggled with alcoholism, a condition that runs in his family. As of August, he was 18 months sober.
So, we had an athletically gifted (9.64 RAS) pass rusher with 18 months of clarity and training the body without alcohol. Now, we’re seeing the benefits.
Crosby posted 12 pressures in Week 6, three more than anyone else in the league. It was also the second time this season he’s had at least 12 in a single outing. He’s getting to and affecting the quarterback better than anybody in the game right now. In Week 6 of the NFL season, it led to a statistical masterpiece and Player of the Week honors.